Iowa summers are known for the high humidity, and when mixed with temperatures in the 90s, it can cause problems for those who enjoy outdoor activities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), summer is a time to schedule outdoor activities carefully. Limit your activities to when it’s the coolest, such as morning and evening hours. You should also rest often in shady areas, so that your body has a chance to recover from the heat. Pace yourself and cut down on exercise during the heat.
Be sure to drink plenty of water, regardless of how active you are. And don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Be sure to keep your pets hydrated, too.
Be sure to wear sunscreen. (Look for sunscreens that say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels. According to the CDC, these products work best.) Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
It’s common sense, but do not leave children or pets in the car. Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver. When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car. Do not overlook any children who have fallen asleep in the car.
Avoid hot and heavy meals during periods of high heat and humidity, too. They add heat to your body. Summer is a good time to take advantage of the plentiful fresh fruits and vegetables you can find at local farmers markets. However, be sure to eat something before you venture out for outdoor activities.
The uncomfortable temperatures can be a bit overwhelming for everyone. However, it’s good to remember that the heat and humidity won’t last forever. Just think; in six short months we will be experiencing cold, snow, and ice, so try to enjoy the heat while you can!